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County OKs $9.25 million loan request

County commissioners approved this month applying for an up-to $9.25 million loan to help pay for four projects.

No tax increase would be needed to re-pay the loan, said Robin West, finance director.

The money would be used to help pay for Phase I of the Davie Community Park being constructed on the site of the former Davie High School; improvements to the county administration and Brock buildings; and to move the Davie County Sheriff’s Office and Davie County Health and Human Services Office to a leased space on Farmington Road at I-40, the former Boyle’s Furniture building.

The approval to go ahead with  the loan application came on a 4-1 vote, with Benita Finney voting against the proposal because it means moving the health department.

Her concern is with moving the health department.

“That means it’s further away from the people who utilize the services, and we’re putting citizens who already struggle … we’re giving them a larger struggle. And I wish all of this wasn’t lumped together for that reason.”

County Manager John Eller said YVEDDI and Cape Fear Transport will still serve local residents, and include the new location as part of plans.

Most of the discussion was based on the move of the sheriff’s and health departments.

West said that when needs of those departments were outlined in 2017, the estimate to build new facilities for each was $22.5 million. Those same facilities would cost $30 million today, she said.

The 20-year lease and upfit for the building is expected to cost $14 million. The county will have two five-year options to extend the lease.

West said the county looked at all available options, including separate sites for the facilities, before deciding on the 68,000-square-foot Farmington Road site. She said the lease rate is lower than market value. “We’ve continued to look to see if there is another place to put either of these,” she said.

Commissioner Mark Jones said it is the least expensive of all options, and that both departments needed new and more space. Now, each uses six or seven sites, West said.

“We had no option to stay where we are,” Jones said.